The Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) championed the accomplishments of President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s fight against illegal drugs in The Hague.
“The Duterte administration has constantly been undertaking numerous initiatives and programs to achieve its goal of drug-free and drug-resistant communities,” PCOO Secretary Andanar said during an engagement with the Filipino community here at the Philippine Embassy in the Netherlands on Feb. 20.
Citing data from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, Andanar said the government has already seized P41.55-billion worth of illegal drugs; rescued 2,833 children from illegal drug-related activities; arrested 735 drug abusers who are government workers; dismantled 506 drug dens and laboratories; and cleared 17,816 barangays as of December 2019.
“These are triumphant achievements for both the government and the civil society, all thanks to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s strong political will, geared towards providing a comfortable and dignified life for all Filipinos,” he said, adding that the PCOO will remain persistent in presenting the real stories of the drug war despite pressure from domestic and foreign critics.
He lamented that despite these achievements, criticisms continue to be lobbed at the government’s fight against illegal drugs, especially from the opposition who refuse to look at the results thus far.
These are amplified, he added, through the proliferation of disinformation and fact twisting by naysayers whose agenda is to discredit the government.
“Despite these obstacles, the Duterte administration will remain firm in its mandate and obligation to realize a drug-free and corruption-free Philippines,” he said.
Andanar also turned over a copy of the PCOO-produced anti-illegal drug documentary film “Gramo” to the Philippine Embassy in The Hague, followed by a film-showing session attended by the members of the Filipino community, students, and Dutch officials.
“Thank you very much for these materials which we will be sharing with the Netherlands government, that we also now have the information from the Philippine government, particularly on the anti-illegal drug campaign,” Ledda said.
A copy of the Presidental Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) report on the state of media freedom in the Philippines was also given to the Philippine Embassy.
“This is very important. The Netherlands is an advocate for fundamental human rights, and one of the things we emphasize is the importance of press freedom, and I think it’s very important for us to show that press freedom is very much alive in the Philippines, and also the administration of justice is very much functioning, independent, and impartial. I think these are very important messages that we can convey to our partners here in Europe,” Ledda said.
Bianca Ruiz, a student from the Leiden University in the Netherlands, said, “The documentary was very informative. I do believe that drugs are a huge problem in the Philippines, and I understand it as a domestic policy of Duterte, and I believe in it. And I also appreciate that he’s also capitalizing also the rehabilitation centers.”
Meanwhile, columnist and former city councilor of The Hague, Anton Lutter, said he supports the programs of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.
“I’m very supportive of the President, and because he’s a president who takes action, he takes care of his people. He is trying to breakdown the drug crimes, of course, this is something you can’t manage in four years, but basically he is the President who is actually doing something about it,” he said.
He said that is also what he hears from a lot of the Philippine diaspora who are very supportive of the President.
“But of course you won’t hear that in the western media. So that is always something to realize that it’s not only negative news about the Philippines,” he added.
Human rights in the Philippines, he added, is basically on a good level.
“You cannot say there is a dictatorship. There’s democracy, there’s a good sound judiciary stem, with an independent Supreme Court,” he said.